Military Law

Starting a Veteran-Owned Small Business

Are you a veteran who's thinking about starting a small business? You may be able to find help because of your past military service. Whether it's for a loan or to do business with the federal government, there are certain resources available to help you meet your needs.

Financing a Small Business

Has it always been your dream to start your own business? For most people, the main reason their dream never gets off the ground is lack of financing. Business start-up can be pricey. You need funds on-hand for initial expenses.

One great option for veterans is called the Patriot Express Pilot Loan Initiative. The program provides veterans with loans to start a small business. There are also loans for business expansion. The US Small Business Administration (SBA) runs the program.

How much can you borrow under this program? Up to $500,000. The SBA gives your lender a guaranty for much of the loan. The Patriot Express program also guarantees you the lowest small business loan rates. 

Most veterans are eligible for this program. Veterans' spouses may be eligible for loans, too. The main thing that may stop you from being eligible is a dishonorable discharge. This usually means you committed a serious crime and were convicted at a court-martial.

Contracting with the Federal Government

You may want to do business with the federal government. It's always doing business no matter how the economy is doing. It has a great deal of money to pay contractors for a wide variety of services.

One program that's offered to certain veterans is called the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business Program. This program helps veterans with disabilities contract with the federal government. The disability must be related to your military service. Serious disability isn't required. All veterans with any sort of service-related disability, no matter how small, can qualify.

Several government web sites help you find business opportunities. FEDBizOpps lists federal contract work for amounts over $25,000. You'll need to register with the Central Contractor Registration web site in order be awarded a contract.

Other Small Business Assistance

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) also assists veterans starting or expanding a small business. The VA created the Center for Veterans Enterprise (CVE). The sole purpose of the CVE is to assist veterans with their small business.

The CVE operates a web site called VETBIZ.GOV. From this web site, you can find information about starting a small business, business opportunities and state assistance to veterans. The web site also contains a database of veteran-owned businesses. This database is used by federal agencies to meet their goals and contracting objectives for hiring veterans. You can enter your business into this database for future contracts after your veteran status is verified by the VA.

Questions for Your Attorney

  • What are the pros and cons of having an attorney help me receive any small business benefits?
  • What do I have to do to verify that I am a veteran? How do I prove that I was disabled from a military-related injury?
  • How long does it take to receive a loan from the Patriot Express program?
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